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Leafs to put Nylander at C, Murray needs 'significant surgery' and Muzzin remains out


Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander will begin his contract season at centre, head coach Sheldon Keefe confirmed as training camp opened Wednesday.

Keefe said the Maple Leafs will experiment with the position change through at least training camp.

The update from Keefe came after general manager Brad Treliving spoke, announcing goaltender Matt Murray will undergo a "significant" surgery within the next week.

The Maple Leafs previously announced in July that Murray would be placed on long-term injured reserve with an unspecified injury. Treliving said details regarding Murray's ailment will be revealed at a later time.

Treliving also confirmed defenceman Jake Muzzin will not play this season, as he remains on long-term injured reserve.

Nylander, who is coming off a career year, having posted 40 goals and 87 points in 82 games with the Maple Leafs last season. He added four goals and 10 points in 11 playoff games before the team was eliminated in the second round. 

The 27-year-old has previously seen brief stints at centre, but Keefe said the team will give him a longer window to adjust this time around. Keefe noted that John Tavares will continue to play centre, with Nylander's position change being made to provide additional depth behind Auston Matthews.

Nylander carries a cap hit of $6.96 million in the last season of his current six-year deal. Treliving did not issue an update on the position of contract talks between Nylander and the Leafs on Wednesday, but noted re-signing him is a "priority."


Murray on LTIR

Murray went 14-8-2 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.01 goals-against average last season – his first in Toronto – while dealing with several different injuries over the campaign. He was healthy enough to serve as backup in the team's second-round playoff series.

Prior to the announcement in July, the 29-year-old had been considered a buyout candidate with the Maple Leafs in need of cap relief after Ilya Samsonov was awarded a one-year, $3.55 million deal in arbitration.

Murray is signed for one more year at a cap hit of $4.69 million for Toronto, with the Ottawa Senators retaining an additional $1.56 million on their books. He was acquired last summer from the Senators, along with a third-round draft pick in the 2023 draft, in exchange for future considerations. 

Ottawa signed Murray to his current four-year, $25 million contract in free agency in 2020.

Murray has been limited to 27 games or less in each of the past three seasons. In 272 career games, he has a 146-86-24 record with a .910 save percentage and a 2.79 GAA.

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2016 and 2017.

Muzzin remains sidelined

The Toronto Maple Leafs ruled out Muzzin for the remainder of the 2022-23 season and playoffs in February due to a cervical spine injury 

The Maple Leafs said at the time the determination from the team's medical staff came after "follow-up consultation this month with various specialists."

That update came after Muzzin was first ruled out for the first four months of the season after an injury sustained in October.